A singer, a busker and a rapper — these three first-year students from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information have different styles of music.
As independent musicians, they had to pave the way to success on their own, encountering numerous difficulties along the way. Charntor had friends who doubted if he would make it, Ng had to actively seek performing venues and opportunities and Pineda encountered failed record deals at the start of his career.
Today, these three musicians have one thing in common: Their personal journeys to find their own voice have hit the right note.
Finding His Own Voice
Edson Charntor (CS’22) began making music began when he googled ‘How to Make a Hit Song’ during his national service.
The 21-year-old singer wrote his first song while experimenting with simple beats on FL Studio, a free music-making software. As he became more confident in creating music, he began to draw inspiration from other songs. This led to him penning his first song, ‘Freedom’, in 2018 — which is currently his most popular song with over 177, 000 streams to date.
“If you can stand out, that’s when people want to hear you.”
Edson Charntor (CS’22)
However, this achievement did not come easy for him.
“This was not achieved overnight. I had to re-upload it twice before it finally gained some traction,” Charntor said. Since then, five of his songs have garnered 500,000 streams across all platforms such as Spotify and Soundcloud.
For Charntor, his songs do not fit a particular mould. “My music doesn’t really belong to a specific label, but it is a fusion of electropop and rock. I’m still trying to figure out what my sound is,” he said.
He also has loyal listeners outside of Singapore, with people from Jakarta and the US tuning in to his Spotify tracks.
“If you can stand out, that’s when people want to hear you,” he said.
His fifth single, ‘Ai-I-I-I-I’ was released on 29 March.
Check out his Genius page.
Playing by Ear
Clement Ng (CS’22) discovered his love for busking when he entered the army back in 2017.
He attained his busking license from the National Arts Council (NAC) after passing an audition in June 2018. Since then, he has been venturing out on his own to find various open mics and bars to perform at on the weekends. Ng, 22, mostly frequents The Beast Southern Kitchen and Bourbon Bar which hosts open mic performances every Thursday.
“You need to be very experimental (as a busker) and test new content and change according to their reactions.”
Clement Ng (CS'22)
“You need to be very experimental (as a busker) and test new content and change according to their reactions. Live audience provides little rules on what you can do,” he said.
He also organises performances for school events. Besides being the overall head for Jamband for his hall, he is also the Performing Arts Director of WKWSCI’s 25th CI Club.
“There is still a lack of platforms available for us as local musicians. It is more of a lack of opportunities with the little space we have rather than facing rejections per se,” said Ng.
Although Ng enjoys the Soft Indie genre, he usually plays Acoustic Pop for his audience because he noticed that the genre had a greater appeal to the masses.
Check out his feed.
Staying in Tune
In the local rap scene, Kristian Pineda (CS’22) goes by the name ‘P_NEDA’.
With his music equipment in his room at an on-campus residence, the 22-year-old records song samples with the lyrics he saved on his phone.
“I tend to think of the lyrics and hook first, drawing references to my life for people to relate to,” Pineda said.
With his single ‘Tell All Your Friends’ garnering 21,000 streams on Spotify alone, he is gaining recognition in the rap scene.
“Just a few years ago, putting music on Spotify was unheard of. But now, artistes are given platforms to independently grow.”
Kristian Pineda (CS’22)
Despite a couple of failed attempts at inking a record deal, Pineda has gone on to gain a huge following as well as experience over the years. Not only does he make his own music, he collaborates with UGLY BOYS, a collective of rappers, producers, photographers and singers, with the aim of boosting the local creative scene.
He believes that staying connected and in tune with the local rap scene is important to his growth as an artiste. He collaborates with other local rappers such as Savyre, Slickbobby and Gareth Fernandez, and also has an upcoming remix with DJ Lenerd, a Zouk turntablist.
“Just a few years ago, putting music on Spotify was unheard of. But now, artistes are given platforms to independently grow,” he said.
Check out his Genius page.